People lover. Public servant. Problem Solver. Mayor for All.
The city of Las Vegas has seen vast improvements and continued growth in arts and culture over the years, celebrating its unique and iconic character through public art. Our mission to help increase the visibility of women and LGBTQ+ creatives in art can only reach its full potential with the right support. Enter Mayoral Candidate, Kara Jenkins.
Kara Jenkins—affectionately known by colleagues and friends as “KJ”—has been a public servant of the state of Nevada for over 10 years under Governors Brian Sandoval, Steve Sisolak and, currently, Joe Lombardo.
At present, she proudly serves as the Administrator to the Nevada Equal Rights Commission. A proud HBCU grad, KJ is lawyer by education and a Harvard Kennedy School of Government alumna.
KJ truly loves all people and especially the city of Las Vegas. More than ever, KJ is committed to listening and connecting to residents and representing the city in a way that reflects our community, inclusion, and innovation.
We had the opportunity to have an in-depth conversation with Kara, where we discussed her extensive background in public service and her vision to build upon our rich history and pave a path forward that reflects the uplifting city that Las Vegas is, while creating a beautiful future where everyone is welcome.
Thank you again for this opportunity! Kara, please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hello! My name is Kara Jenkins and I am your 2024 candidate for City of Las Vegas Mayor!
How long have you lived in Las Vegas and when did you know this is where you would call home?
I have lived in Vegas since 2010! I found that Nevada was a great state to continue my career in public service and it was during a time where I could really hit the ground running in terms of my career goals. I want that for everyone with dreams to succeed. Vegas was home immediately. I packed my apartment from Sacramento and drove my jeep to Vegas. I checked into an extended stay hotel while my apartment application processed. The first night, I drove the strip and downtown for probably hours, just looking at all the amazing lights, buildings…I was home.
Why do you want to be Mayor?
I have three reasons: 1) I love service, 2) I love the City, 3) I want to utilize my experience in government to solve local issues so that we can all have a better quality of life. I believe strongly that a mayor should be accessible, thoughtful to the needs of ALL her constituents and resourceful.
What are the main challenges you see Las Vegas facing and how would you address them?
Top challenges that seem to be polling for many cities include safety, affordable housing and economic support. People want and need relief, a good paying job and a roof over their heads. These are essential components to a thriving city. As I mentioned previously, people also want to live in a city where they can ignite their dreams – open a business or find a good paying job. I am no different than many right now working hard but finding it challenging to see leadership address the critical needs we face daily.
What are your thoughts on bridging the gap between government and constituency to bring major art outside of just Downtown and the Strip?
Downtown has a beautiful art scene and I am proud to know Janel Raihl and several other talented artists who care deeply for people and understand the healing power of art. The City of Las Vegas, however, is more than just downtown – it includes neighborhoods and parks and public spaces where I would support artists to create and inspire.
A great solution is to identify where there is a need, identify and support artists with a vision by creating an opportunity for those artists to create. We find a way that makes sense, and we simply make it happen.
How would you support arts education and improve educational programs in Pre-K-12 schools?
I had the pleasure to recently visit Booker Elementary to read to several grades – it was so fulfilling. Kids have a way of inspiring me and are the future. Our kids deserve a city where they can live out their dreams should they remain Las Vegans. The city needs to be a place where upon graduation, they can find a great job or start their own business, train vocationally or go to college. As mayor, my commitment is with the next generation of leaders.
Thank you for encouraging the arts and for being an ally for all walks of life. Through Raw Femme, my goal has been to make space for women artists to be discovered and celebrated by helping increase their visibility in art. What is your vision for the arts in our neighborhoods and communities, and how do you envision women to be in the forefront of our city’s artistic and cultural development?
Absolutely, and thank you! To your question – I see murals, exhibits, statues, monuments – telling a story of the people who live here – reflecting the diversity and beauty of who we are – a city of dreamers, artists, public servants, military, influencers – we are a collective.
Women’s voices are necessary and underrepresented. We have a story! We have rights! Art is the creative expression of our humanity and will forever be supported by me.
What advice can you offer young adults who are interested in pursuing a career in public service?
Public service is a calling. It has to be in you to serve. You will know the call when you feel good and thrive by seeing others do well – when you mourn an injustice or are enraged by it. Begin in areas you feel called – helping animals, elderly, the environment, kids – start with where your passion is and get involved. There is no lack of help needed in this world. Kindness is always needed. Seek out others who are doing the work you aspire to and ask how you can get involved. The path will lead to opportunities.
How can our community support you and your campaign?
Please follow my social media accounts on Instagram @kara4lvmayor and on Facebook Kara Jenkins. Visit my website at www.Kara4LVmayor.com and select the tab “get involved” – we will reach out when we have events! And finally, any generosity will help get the word out by clicking on our donation link to the website or Instagram.
What is your interpretation of a Raw Femme?
I see a powerful resource for women’s voices and expression – a trial blazing, EMMY AWARD winning publication that celebrates the diversity and beauty of the female perspective. I am honored for this interview and hope to be a continuing voice and presence during my campaign and beyond.
A huge thank you to Kara Jenkins for taking the time to chat with us! We are proud to endorse Kara for Mayor of Las Vegas, and encourage you to learn more about her objectives and vision, and consider donating to her campaign here.
Meet Kara in person at a special mixer on June 29, 2023 inside Art Wavy in the Las Vegas Arts District. Join Kara and her team for an evening of networking with local artists and business professionals in the space curated by campaign co-chair of the arts, Janel Raihl. Follow Kara on Instagram for more details.
Dedicated to the Memory of Kara’s beloved father, Darryl Emerson Jenkins.